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Weeknight Sheet Pan Dinners

Just as one-pot meals make dinner preparation and cleanup so much easier than a stovetop full of assorted pots and pans, sheet pan dinners do the same for oven-based meals. Consider these the modern update to casserole dinners. Using a single baking sheet to make a complete meal—a roasted protein paired with an assortment of vegetables—means that everything cooks for about the same amount of time, as long as some general guidelines are taken into consideration. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Line the baking sheet properly with foil (preferably heavy-duty, for its larger size and resistance to tearing) and spray with nonstick cooking spray or brush with oil to prevent the food from sticking. Once the food is done cooking, simply throw away the foil: no washing required!
  • Choose proteins and vegetables that match up in terms of cooking times. For example, pair quick-cooking items together, like fish with zucchini, snap peas and cherry tomatoes. If one ingredient takes significantly longer to cook than another, it’s not the end of the world, but you’ll need to start it first and add the other items later. This will require keeping more of an eye on the oven.
  • Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces to speed up cooking and make serving easy.
  • Consider adding a dry rub or marinade to the protein before baking, or brushing on a sauce or glaze afterwards. The same goes for the vegetables: a sauce or vinaigrette can do wonders to punch up the final flavors.
  • For the protein, chicken pieces make a great default choice, but the following are also good options: fish fillets, pork chops, pork tenderloin, meatballs, sausages, and tofu slabs.
  • Prep the ingredients the night before to save time.
  • Because the oven is already on, toss any additional complementary items—such as pita, tortillas, naan or bread—onto another oven rack to warm up during the last few minutes of cooking.

Another great thing about this method of cooking is that the components typically make excellent, versatile leftovers. The protein can be sliced, shredded, or kept as-is and used as a sandwich filling or salad topper, while the roasted vegetables can be folded into omelets, added to pasta, or used to bulk up an otherwise boring green salad.

 

Curried chicken drumsticks

 

Once you get the cooking times down for various items, you’ll find that mixing and matching ingredients to create different sheet pan meals isn’t so hard. In fact, this method might just become one of your new favorite ways of cooking dinner. For starters, try the curried roast chicken dinner below, which pairs tender yogurt-marinated chicken drumsticks with a trio of lightly glazed roasted vegetables. 

Curried Roast Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

If you don’t care for the taste of mango chutney, simply season the vegetables with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime juice instead.

Ingredients

Curry powder

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped

1-inch piece ginger, peeled, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic

1 Tbs. curry powder

1 Tbs. plus 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus additional, to taste

4 chicken drumsticks

4 oz. carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 lb. small red potatoes, halved

12 oz. green beans, trimmed

2 Tbs. olive oil

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbs. mango chutney

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

Cooking Instructions

Marinated chicken drumsticks

1. Place the yogurt, onion, ginger, garlic, curry powder and 1 Tbs. of the salt in a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Place the drumsticks in a large resealable plastic bag, add the yogurt marinade and seal. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.

2. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray or grease lightly with oil.

3. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, potatoes, green beans, oil, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange the vegetables on one side of the prepared baking sheet. Set the bowl aside; do not wash.

4. Remove the drumsticks from the marinade and place on the other side of the baking sheet.

5. Bake until the potatoes and carrots are completely tender, the green beans are slightly shriveled and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken, away from the bone, registers 170 degrees F, 30 to 40 minutes.  

6. In the previously used bowl, whisk together the mango chutney and lime juice. Add the vegetables and toss until evenly coated. Season with additional salt, to taste.

Serves 2.

Comments

12:24 PM on October 5, 2016 Agnes Keen
Wow this sounds delicious! A perfect dish for the fall.
6:33 PM on October 5, 2016 Brianna Luther
Love this recipe. I would probably marinate the meat overnight instead of just an hour for better flavor.
6:33 PM on October 5, 2016 Brianna Luther
Love this recipe. I would probably marinate the meat overnight instead of just an hour for better flavor.
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